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The Pesticide Registration Guidelines and certain regulations governing the application of pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) have undergone changes in recent years. In the area of spray drift evaluation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is still actively pursuing technical and scientific questions associated with pesticide drift and the possible exposure of humans, animals, and plants to spray drift. A problem still to be addressed is that of building a comprehensive data base of downwind quantification and droplet distribution data through the use of wind tunnel studies or direct in-flight assessments. The specific data requirements for these studies have not as yet been completed. In the areas of application safety and precautionary statements, the EPA has increasingly worked with the individual states and through the State-Federal Issues Research and Evaluation Group (SFIREG). Coordinated work is continuing with other federal agencies and interested groups in the areas of spray drift research and pesticide application methodology through such programs as Self-Regulating Application and Flight Efficiency (SAFE) and Pesticide Applicator Training (PAT). Also within this effort is the application of numerous exposure models in a broad spectrum of environmental fate determinations. These models are based on an ever-increasing amount of data with corroboration by monitoring studies. The spray drift models will be used for exposure analysis by registrants and EPA personnel and by pesticide applicators for application safety and efficiency. These various aspects of pesticide data generation, modeling, and group interaction comprise part of the EPA's continuing effort to provide sensible and current regulation of pesticide application and use in order to ensure the availability of necessary pesticides and still protect the environment.
pesticides, spray drift, pesticide application, federal regulations
Plant physiologist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.,